September 2016 Play! by Sephora

Play

Play! by Sephora is a monthly beauty subscription service curated by one of the leaders in cosmetic retain, Sephora. Each month, subscribers receive 5 beauty products, plus a fragrance bonus (that’s right, the fragrance doesn’t count as one of your samples!) The goodies arrive in a cute, reusable bag, along with your monthly information pamphlet and your play pass, which grants you 50 bonus Beauty Insider points when you make a purchase in store! As of right now, Play! by Sephora is only available in the 48 contiguous United States, and you can find out more here!

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This month’s items:

Total value of $34.01!

August 2016 Ipsy Glam Bag

Ipsy is a monthly beauty service that delivers makeup, skin care, and hair care to your door. The subscription includes five beauty samples and a makeup bag, for just $10 per month, shipping included! I have been an Ipsy subscriber for over two  years and I have found that in the past few months they have really stepped up their game. The monthly bag values have been increasing, usually averaging around $40 per month (although this month is over $60!!). If you are interested in learning more about Ipsy or want to subscribe yourself, click here!

Interested in learning about another monthly beauty subscription service? Check out what I got last month in my July 2016 Play! by Sephora.

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  • This Works in transit camera close-up 3-in-1 mask, moisturizer, and primer 20mL ($27.50 value)

  • Beauty for Real I-LINE in Black Magic ($14 value)

  • Nyx Born to  Glow Liquid Illuminator in Gleam 13 mL ($5.37 value)

  • Marc Anthony Argan Oil of Morocco Deep Hydrating Conditioning treatment 50mL ($2.99 value)

  • Beau Gachis Beauty Sponge ($14 value)

Total Value: $63.46

Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Glow Kit | Review & Swatches!

I have always thought Anastasia Beverly Hills was a good brand, after all Anastasia Soare is the QUEEN of brows, but lately they have really been making me fall in love more and more. Claudia “Norvina” Soare, president of ABH and Anastasia’s daughter, has a keen eye for design and always has her finger to the pulse of trends. Moonchild is her brain child, born out of her childhood love for “The Neverending Story” and its bright and colorful visual palette. She also is a great person and makes a point of ensuring her line is inclusive of ALL genders and skin colors, something I applaud. Check out the promo shots below!

Product Information

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that the current makeup trends are all about bright, vivid, rainbow colors, from eyes, to lips, to even cheek bones. Moonchild is a 6-color rainbow highlighting palette featuring hues ranging from celestial pink to dazzling lavender. Each pan contains .15 oz of product, with .9 oz total in the product. Their 4-pan glow kits have 1.04 product, for reference. All ABH glow kits currently cost $40. The price breaks down to $6.67 per shade for this product.

What really sets this glow kit apart is its utilization of a proprietary cosmetic ingredient, Reflecks™, from BASF Care Creations, a cosmetic lab. BASF describes Reflecks™ as a color changing pigment that gives cosmetics vibrant life by changing their color as the visual angle of the viewer or the wearer shifts. This multi-dimensional effect material makes distinctive color travel effects possible through providing an array of optical effects that offer a pearl colored visual impact. Claudia noted that this ingredient is typically used in loose pigments, and this would be the first time the brand has experimented with utilizing it in a pressed product. Below are the brand descriptions of the shades:

  • Blue Ice- Diamond white with an icy blue reflect
  • Star- A moonstone fusion of mint, platinum, and silver reflect
  • Purple Horseshoe- A glittering lavender with an arctic blue reflect
  • Pink Heart- Pearl white with a pink opal reflect
  • Lucky Clover- A shamrock-infused gold with a canary yellow diamond reflect
  • Blue Moon- Frozen blue with a silver reflect
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Pan shots w/ flash

Swatches

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Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Purple Horsehoe, Blue Moon, Star, Lucky Clover, Blue Ice, Pink Heart

Review

First off, aesthetically, the product itself is so stunning and visually appealing. I love the holographic packaging and the entire concept behind the palette and the marketing campaign. It appealed to me immediately, but I was concerned it would be something I couldn’t actually pull off in public. Au contraire, these are actually so beautiful on the face and are actually quit subtle! I have been using a fluffy highlight brush from Luxie, and find that it blends so nicely onto my face without being really crazy or looking like a line of color on my cheekbone or down my nose. These provide an almost celestial glow, and the color is so multi-dimensional, with the reflects changing with how the light hits the face. If you want it to really pop and show off the color, you can layer easily without over-emphasizing large pores or texture. They are also eye safe and make great overall eyelid colors for a glowing, ethereal look.

The texture is very luxurious. The are very soft and finely milled. The glitter is not chunky at all, and does not fall out all over the face. They also kick up very little dust in the pan itself, which can be a problem among powder highlights. The colors look great on my light skin, but as you can see from the promo pics, they also look absolutely stunning on darker skin, and I believe this is POC friendly.

My personal favorite is Purple Horseshoe. It is so pretty and looks like lavender fairy dust. It looks so pretty as a highlight on the cheekbones, and I find it to be just the right amount of glow and pigmentation to really work perfectly for me. My one complaint is that there are two blues, but I understand why they made that choice, as any warm colors would have looked out of place, and the shades are very different, not at all close to identical.

Overall I love this palette, and am so happy I got the guts to buy it. I am feeling more confident in wearing daring makeup looks and for some reason a poppin’ highlight gives me confidence like nothing else, so this is a perfect product for me to incorporate into my beauty routine. The colors are also subtle enough, and blend so well that they could easily be worn every day, especially Star and Pink Heart.

9/10

Let’s Talk About Brows, Baby: The 411 on the Colourpop Brow Collection

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I genuinely love Colourpop as a company. They are a small, indie brand based out of L.A., and everything they sell is formulated and made here in the USA. They entered the makeup scene with their unique spongy cream-to-powder formula in eye shadows, blushes, bronzers, and highlighters. Now their line includes various lip products, face products, and now, brows! You can only purchase them online from their website, but they offer free shipping on orders over $30 and you can get $5 off your first order with the coupon code ‘THANKSBABE’ entered at checkout! If you’re an Ipsy subscriber, check out brand offers for a $5 off link. (You can’t combine these, though!) They also have fun promotions often, with free bonus items, so keep an eye out for those!

Their brow line offers two products, a potted brow color and a dual sided mechanical brow pencil. The Brow Colour is $6 and the Brow Pencil is $5. Both come in eight shades. Check out pics of all the shades below!

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brow pencils

I bought both products in the shade Dope Taupe, which is their most universal shade in my opinion. I purchased the products the day after their release in March and have been playing around with them for a few months now, so I am ready to give you my full thoughts and reviews. I also recently grabbed their highlight stick in Releve ($5) and while I am not loving it for facial highlighting, I am really liking it for sculpting out the brow and highlighting the brow bone!

Brow Pencil

 

Formula: Slightly softer than I would prefer. Being so soft, the color pay off is good, but this is not necessarily ideal for a brow pencil, since it can place too much product on the brow if you press too hard. It can be easily blended, but can transfer slightly to the skin via the spoolie, requiring some clean up around the edges with concealer, foundation, highlight stick, ect. I like the highlight stick for this. Using a light hand is the best way to go with this pencil.

Packaging: Very slim. .09 g of product in total (ABH Brow Wiz has .085 g for $21). Love that there is a decent spoolie on one end. One downfall is that the design does not allow for the pencil to be twisted back down, so don’t twist it up a lot or you’ll be S.O.L.

Shade Range: Wide variety of shades from blond to black and everything in between. One complaint I have is something that seems to just be a widespread issue among “neutral” brow colors in general; the taupe shade was too warm. While it worked okay for me, I prefer a cooler toned brow shade and even though taupe is *supposed* to be neutral/cool, Colourpop’s is guilty of being TOO DAMN WARM!

Price: $5 is very reasonable for the amount of product you get, as well as the quality of the product. Probably one of the top affordable eyebrow pencils on the market right now when looking at the shade range + packaging + formula.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10, formula slightly too creamy and taupe shade is a bit too warm. I think Bangin’ Brunette would be a better shade pick for me in the future and would take this rating up to an 8. Good option for the price, though.

Brow Colour

Formula: A creamy, almost mousse-like formula that is the perfect balance of soft, but not too soft. It stays right where you put it and lasts through a whole day of sweat and activities. When used with a thin, angled brow brush, a little bit goes a long way and it is super easy to sculpt and fill in perfect, fleeky brows. Once you place it, it will stay, but I finish up with a clear brow gel for maximum holding power. I have not had an issue with this drying out and have had it for 3+ months now. I recommend getting a good, sturdy eyebrow brush that will hold its shape and a spoolie if you don’t have one to use with this.

Packaging: Glass pot with tightly closing lid. Feels sturdy and luxurious. 3 g of product (ABH Dip Brow has 3 g for $18). Keep the lid on tight and you won’t have an issue with the product prematurely drying up.

Shade Range: Same range of eight shades. The brow colour in Dope Taupe is not as warm as the pencil and really does work well for me. I prefer this over the pencil for doing my brows right now and wish the colors were more consistent between the two products.

Price: $6 is also very reasonable for the amount of product you get, as well as the quality of the product. A great, affordable option for those that like being able to really carve out your brows with a brush. Remember, it does not come with any tools, so you’ll need your own brush and spoolie! For $6, I wouldn’t expect a tool to come with it, so that isn’t a problem for me.

Overall Rating: 9/10, very few complaints. LOVE IT!

Swatches

From left to right: Brow Pencil, Brow Colour, Releve Highlight Stick, Releve blended

xoxo

June 2016 Play! by Sephora

Play

Play! by Sephora is a monthly beauty subscription service provided by, you guessed it, Sephora. For $10 per month, you are sent five beauty products (hair, skin, makeup, ect) AND a fragrance sample in a Sephora sachet bag! At this point, there is a wait list, but you can join the queue and get more info HERE. FYI, I was on the wait list for a couple months before I got my invite.

Pros of Play!

  • Affordable, $10 per month
  • Prestige brands only
  • Fragrance is a bonus and doesn’t count as one of your 5 samples
  • Point bonus for Beauty Insiders (50 extra points per month with Play! Pass purchase)
  • Play! Book with product info and tips for use

Cons of Play!

  • Wait list only
  • No customization, everyone gets the same thing
  • Some repeats of common samples (I’m looking at you ‘They’re Real’)

June Play! by Sephora Products

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  • tarte Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion .23 fl oz ($4.33 value)
  • Benefit They’re Real Mascara .1 fl oz ($8 value)
  • Bumble and Bumble Don’t Blow It Hair Styler .5 fl oz ($3.10 value)
  • Becca Backlight Primer Filter .2 fl oz ($7.60 value)
  • bareMineral Bareskin Serum Bronzer .1 fl oz ($2.80 value)
  • Tocca Florence Perfume .05 fl oz ($2 value)

This month’s total value: $27.83

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette Review + Swatches

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Anastasia Beverly Hills is an iconic brand built by Anastasia Soare, brow stylist to the stars. Along with her daughter Claudia “Norvina” Soare, these bad bitches have taken the makeup world by storm and no longer focus solely on brows. Their cosmetics line now includes liquid lipsticks and glosses, highlighters, liners, and complexion products coming soon! This is my first Anastasia eye shadow experience, but I had high hopes, as their shadows are raved about on social media.

This palette retails for $42 and is available on the Anastasia Beverly Hills website, along with Ulta and Sephora. It includes 14 colors, with each pan holding .02 oz of product. The eye shadow pans hold exactly half on the product that a normal MAC or Makeup Geek pan would hold. The price breaks down to exactly $3 per shadow, with the price per ounce EXACTLY the same as MUG and MAC! An amazing value, in my opinion. The palette also comes with a dual-sided shadow brush, with a blending brush on one end and a small duo-fiber shader on the other. The brush didn’t blow me away and I found the bristles on the blending brush a bit prickly. However, I think this brush would make it easy to do a full look with just the one brush, and for that I give ABH kudos.

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Texture: Soft and buttery. Kicked up some powder in the pan, but I did not have an issue with fallout when applying them.

Pigmentation: Great color saturation. The shimmers and mattes are both pigmented and provide great color pay off. Only color that I had a bit of an issue with was Love Letter. It applied slightly patchy, but was able to be blended and looked fine on the eye.

Blendability: Great. Mattes blend like a dream and do not skip or show up patchy.

Color Selection: This is a well thought out palette. The reds, magentas, and oranges are romantic and fun, but the range of neutrals also make this a perfect every day palette. Wide selection of colors for the lid, crease, and brow bone. 8 mattes, 2 shimmers, and 4 micro shimmers. I love that it has more mattes than anything else, as this makes it so versatile and increases the usability exponentially!

Overall: A great quality palette and a good price. The value is there, as well as the quality I would expect from Anastasia. The looks you could create from this look are diverse and numerous, from grungy russet smokey eyes to neutral, every day natural looks. 4.5/5

A closer look at the pans…

 

Natural light swatches

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In action…

What’s in Travel My Makeup Bag

I like to pack light, mainly because I am always packing at the last minute and just grab the bare minimum. Years of practice (?) have honed my skills. Here’s what I packed for my upcoming weekend trip to Louisville. All of it fits in ONE makeup bag!

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Face:

  • Figs & Rouge Mattifying Emulsion and Pore Refiner Primer
  • Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation in 110
  • Nyx HD Concealer in Fair
  • Airspun Loose Face Powder in Translucent
  • Elf Mist + Set spray
  • Nyx Blush in Taupe
  • Laura Geller Blush-n-Brighten in Tropical Hues

Eyes:

  • Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette
  • Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Eye Primer
  • NYC City Proof 24 Hour Eyeshadow in Taupe
  • Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe (for my brows!)
  • Wet n Wild Megaclear Clear Mascara + Brow Gel
  • Maybelline One by One Waterproof Mascara
  • Tarte Tarteist Clay Liner

Lips:

  • Colourpop Lippie Stick in Tootsi
  • Pacifica Power of Lover Natural Lipstick in Nudie Red

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Tools:

  • Real Techniques Powder Brush
  • Flat Contour Brush, no name brand- bought on Amazon
  • Elf Blush Brush
  • Elf Crease Brush
  • Beau Gachis Smudge Brush
  • Crown Brush Deluxe Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet
  • Studio M Eyebrow Brush, bought from local big box store- Meijer
  • Spoolie, no name brand- bought at CVS
  • Tarte Eyeliner Brush
  • Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge
  • Estee Lauder Eyelash Curler

Brush Cleaning 101 + Tips for Extending the Life of your Makeup Brushes!

I am so guilty of letting my makeup brushes go quite a long time without a proper cleaning, but “new year, new me” right? Today I’m going to break down how I clean my brushes and also some tips and tricks to properly care for your brushes! Spoiler alert, my whole routine costs less than $10!

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What You Need

All I use is two items to get my brushes squeaky clean and sanitized: Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Castille Soap and a BrushEgg!

I have very sensitive skin, so a natural soap like Dr. Bronner’s is ideal, and it does a wonderful job of cleaning my brushes, even the ones saturated with foundation or thick concealer. It lathers wonderfully, but if your brush is particularly dirty, it may take a couple rinses before it suds up. I find that I have to scrub and rinse the brushes I use with cream products a couple of times before it begins to foam up. Dr. Bronner’s is very affordable, and can be found both online and in drugstores! A 8 oz. bottle (which will last you FOREVER, a little goes a long way) sells for around $6.

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The BrushEgg is a convenient rubber scrubbing surface that can really help deep clean your brushes. Many companies have these BrushEggs, and they sell anywhere from $5-15, but I will let you in on a little secret… I bought mine for ONE DOLLAR from eBay! It shipped from Hong Kong, so it did take about 20 days to arrive, but I am a sucker for a good bargain and this one was too good to pass up! They are available in several colors. I personally got the mint green! Here is the exact listing I used!

Get Cleaning!

I dampen my brushes first with warm water and then use a drop or two of soap per brush. I swirl the brush around the textured surface of the BrushEgg until it begins to lather up. Rinse the brush and repeat gently swirling on the BrushEgg until your brush is completely clean. Rinse with warm water and allow to dry. Voila! Brushes as good as new!

Tips for Brush Care to Extend Their Life

  • Try to only get the bristles wet. Water can loosen the adhesive holding your brushes together and can cause them to fall apart!
  • If your brush does separate from the handle, a drop or two of super glue or another strong adhesive will bind them! Just make sure you don’t get any on the bristles.
  • Don’t scrub too hard! It can cause the brush to lose its shape and some of the bristles to come loose.
  • If your brush starts to lose its shape, you can restructure it by using a no-crease hair tie. Don’t tie it too tight, as this will have the opposite effect. Loop it around the bristles after you wash the brush, while it is still damp. In about 20-30 minutes, take off the hair tie and the brush should be back to its original shape! For eye brushes, those tiny plastic hair bands work great!

 

 

 

Full Review & Swatches: L.A. Colors Eyeshadow Trios

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L.A. Colors is a very cheap makeup and cosmetics brand that is available at discount stores like Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree. Most of their products are $1-2, and these eye shadow trios were just $1 each! I decided to pick up two of the more neutral trios to try out. I grabbed “Natural”, an all matte trio featuring an ivory shade, an ashy brown, and a dark brown. I also got “Sunflower”, which is an all-shimmer trio with a pale gold, reddish copper, and a bronze-y brown. There are also several other trios is varying shades and finishes if you want to try them out but aren’t fond of the ones I picked.

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Sunflower Trio (I dropped it and the bronze pan partially crumbled, so ignore how ratchet it looks…)

I have a very split review on these, because I LOVE the Sunflower trio, but don’t really love the Natural trio. The Sunflower trio reminds me of a foiled eyeshadow, due to its pigmentation and butteriness. It does have a bit of fall out, but not very bad, and I love how creamy these are. The Natural trio on the other hand… this trio kind of sucks. It swatches nicely on the finger, but on the skin and eye it comes off as patchy and is so powdery that there is insane amounts of fallout. The pigmentation isn’t amazing, no where near as good as the other trio, and I have many other matte colors similar to these that I choose to reach for instead of these when I am doing my makeup at home, just because the fallout and patchiness is a pain to deal with. I was really hoping it would rock, because these would be beautiful crease and transition shades, but they are just not pigmented or smooth enough for me to really love. I will still continue to try and make this work, because the colors are nice shades and it is so small that it is great for travel or on the go, but it is pretty “meh” for me. I found that it works best over an opaque white base (see swatches below).

Natural Trio

Below are swatches from both trios. The three shades on the left are from the Natural Trio and the three on the right are from the Sunflower Trio. I swatched them over two bases, Nyx Milk Eye Pencil and Urban Decay Primer Potion, and then on just bare skin. You can see that on top of the Milk Eye Pencil base the colors, even from the Natural Trio, show up the best and brightest.

Nyx Milk Eye Pencil (top), Urban Decay Primer Potion (middle), and bare skin (bottom)

For $1, these shadows are alright, especially the shimmers. They are compact and are the perfect size to throw in your bag or purse for on the go. They definitely require a primer that is very tacky, and an opaque base such as Nyx Milk will make them stand out even more and look more pigmented on the eye. If you plan on using the Natural Trio, make sure you wait until after the eye is done to do under eye concealer, because clean up is required due to the fall out from the darker shades. If you were just going to get one, I suggest getting the Sunflower Trio, as there are better neutral matte shades out there, even at the drugstore.

What is your cheapest beauty find? Did you love it or hate it? Let me know in the comments below!

xo


Fall 2015 Trends | MAUVE LIPS: Top Three Favorites & My Trick for Flawless Matte Lips

IMG_50490The dream of the 90’s is alive in makeup trends. Brown, grey, and dusty rose shades are popping up everywhere, from the drug store to the high end counter. The easiest way to dip your toes into this trend is by starting with a beautiful, matte, mauve lip.

Mauve lips are all the rage this season, and for good reason. The color, ranging from warm, to neutral, to cool, can flatter anyone, and is very easy to wear. A matte finish adds to the grungy appeal and creates a long-wearing low maintenance lip look that is perfect for every day wear, from the office to happy hour. Below our my three favorite mauve shades that I am loving right now. All three are a matte or semi-matte finish, and all three are very affordable!

From left to right: Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Bare it All, City Color Be Matte Lipstick in Cappuccino, and Colourpop Lippie Stick in Tootsie

1. Wet n Wild Megalast Lip Color in Bare it All | $2

A semi-matte, creamy opaque warm brown-toned mauve, with dusty rose undertones. This formula is a bit stiff at first, but warms up on the lips and provides a long-wearing, opaque finish. This $2 drugstore lipstick is also a dupe for the cult favorite MAC Velvet Teddy!

2. City Color Be Matte Lipstick in Cappuccino | $5

Ok, this one might not be a true mauve, but it’s in the same family, so I had to include it. This is an uber matte lipstick. It can be a bit tough to apply, due to this, but once applied this baby is staying on. The color is very warm, which is perfect for fall, and the pigmentation is phenomenal. I got this lipstick in my Ipsy bag a few months ago, and I’ve been loving it since.

3. Colourpop Lippie Stick in Tootsie | $5

This mauve leans into “greige” territory, but that is one of the reasons I love it. It’s so beautiful, creamy, and long lasting. It’s cool toned and just lovely. Colourpop also sells a matching lip pencil for $5 as well, and pairing the two, I have had the color last (even with eating!) for around 5-6 hours! These lippie sticks are such a good value, and I highly recommend them all, but in particular this color.

| My Trick for Flawless Matte Lips |

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My secret weapon for hydrated lips

Matte lips can be a bit intimidating, because the show off every single line, crack, dry piece of skin, ect. Believe me, I know the struggle. My lips chap at just the mention of winter. The biggest secret I have is not really much of a secret… Moisturize your lips generously every single day. Especially at night. Give your honey a kiss goodnight and then slather on a moisturizing lip butter, balm, or mask, and when you wake up your lips will look plump and nourished. And when your lips are especially dry, use a gentle sugar lip scrub to slough away the dead skin before putting on your butter, balm, or mask. My current FAVORITE for both day and night is the Nivea Lip Butter. This stuff is thick without being sticky, smells amazing, and has drastically improved the appearance and feel of my lips. Even better? I got this full sized tin for ONE DOLLAR at Dollar Tree! It is also available at Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, Target. ect. Looking for a splurge? Try out Youtube Celeb Nichole Guerriero’s Best Damn Lip Mask for supreme moisture and nourishment!

There you have it, my top three mauve-ish lip colors for fall and how I prep for matte lip colors. Have you found a stunning fall lipstick or killer lip balm? Let me know in the comments!

xo